Food for Thought: Teach, Coach, Mentor

Helping others learn and grow is an important aspect of skill that we should always be seeking to develop in ourselves and others.

When it comes to helping others develop skills I like to look at developing through a three tier process.  First you teach a skill, then you coach the student in its use, and finally your mentor the student in furthering their growth.

First you Teach

Your role as the teacher is to impart facts and knowledge, along with skills and techniques.  The level of what you teach can vary from basic instruction through to advanced and intricate knowledge or actions

Then You Coach

When you coach, you are helping the student apply the things they have learned in a controlled environment.  You set the rules and boundaries, which continually expand as the students skills continue to advance.

Finally You Mentor

As the mentor your guide the student through application of the knowledge and practiced skills in the world, helping them adjust and align to environment outside of both of your control.

Teacher, Coach, and Mentor

Of course this is not always a liner or even time bound progression.  You may meet a student who doesn’t require teaching, and already has mentors, but is in need of a coach.  The possibilities are situationally dependent but your role is to identify where you fit in and teach, coach, or mentor as necessary.


Want to discuss things a little further, check out our closed facebook discussion group to share your thoughts and join in the discussion. Or you can email me directly at  If you are interested in further reading check out other Food for Thought articles and learn all about the Archetypes of Skill.  You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.

Live Skillfully!


Leave a Reply